US: Catholic teacher sacked after getting engaged to same-sex partner

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A Catholic school teacher in the US state of Ohio has said that he was sacked for getting engaged to a man.

Brian Panetta said that he know that getting engaged to his partner Nathan David would result in him no longer being able to work at Sandusky Central Catholic School, but he did it anyway.

The band and choir teacher said that he was forced to resign last week after he told administrators at the school about his Christmas engagement.

“As a proud and gay Catholic, I understand the Church’s teachings on marriage and agree that my engagement is a public statement of my position for marriage equality, which the Catholic Church does not yet support,” Panetta wrote in a letter to members of the school.

“I am hopeful to see change in the future, but until then I am praying for strength and understanding and encourage my students to do the same.”

The Diocese of Toledo said the school’s decision was made “in light of the Church’s clear teaching on sacred marriage”, and that it supported that decision.

The Diocese noted Panetta’s acknowledgement that his engagement was contrary to the church’s doctrines.

He said he told the school president on 3 January that he was engaged because he did not want her to find out from someone else. He offered to stay on until the end of the school year, but was given a letter of termination later that evening.

After meeting with school and diocese officials last week, he said he was given the option to resign.

“I understand what the issues are, not to say I agree with them,” Panetta said on Tuesday. “I just wish things could be different in this day and age.”

He went on to say that he did not want his dismissal to reflect negatively on the school or its students, saying that he hoped it would add to the dialogue about same-sex marriage.

A group of alumni from the school has started a campaign to oppose the move, and has asked for Panetta to be reinstated, although he himself has said he will not challenge the decision.

Reports suggest that Panetta has already been replaced at the school.